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Entrepreneur explains why and how to quit your job

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I recently sat down with Young Chang, entrepreneur and president of A-SHA FOODS USA, a health focused Ramen dry noodle company. He is a former corporate all-star turned entrepreneur whose story resonated with me the moment I heard it and I had to share it with you. You can listen to our conversation below as you read along:

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Young Chang A-Sha Foods USA - quit your job

If you have a burning desire in you to up and quit your job to pursue something that truly inspires you, or are simply frustrated with the current circumstances of your corporate endeavors and are ready for change, this piece is for you.

So, you want to quit your job or make a change? First, understand why.

Young Chang is an educated and intelligent man. Let’s just leave it at that.

He has an MBA in Corporate Finance & Marketing from USC and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Information & Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.

He interned at Cisco and IBM before taking full time positions with Price Waterhouse Coopers, Disney and Warner Music. Most recently, he served as IT Director at Warner Bros. Those are some seriously impressive roles… roles that most recent college graduates would aspire to hold and many current corporate workers might be envious of. Dream jobs.

Strictly from a cursory glance at his resume, it’s safe to say that he is going to be a huge success in the corporate world.

But recently, Chang did something strange – at least by today’s standards. In March 2016, he quit his high profile role as IT Director at Warner Bros.

I think my story’s probably pretty common with a lot of folks maybe in their undergrads or in their graduate studies, or even entry-level folks that are just getting into the corporate world, starting their career, so to speak. I followed the path, followed the safe road, went to school [and got a job].

For many, going to school and then choosing a job that you are told you are qualified for is not just the safe road to travel down, it’s the only road. Student debt and the need for a paycheck in this competitive economy are highly motivating factors today. I totally understand and can relate to that, but as Chang’s story reflects, it doesn’t mean we need to be content to live within its constraints.

Even at my very first jobs, when I was a coder, a computer programmer and writing applications and doing other kind of financial systems for these big businesses, something didn’t really sit right with me. For myself and my transition, that’s where it began.

Chang’s story immediately resonated with me when he explained why he was frustrated with his corporate job. Despite his much sought after skill set and rapid rise at the companies where he was employed, corporate life was disheartening for him and hindered his personal growth.

Think about the reasons you come home frustrated from work. Is it because of annoying coworkers? Maybe. It is because of  tiresome and bureaucratic corporate politics? Maybe. An overbearing boss? Maybe. For myself and those who have made a decision to change, it comes down to something much simpler.

Frustration with your job boils down to one key thing.

More than likely, corporate life is not frustrating because of all the extrinsic qualities that people typically bemoan… rather it is frustrating because there is constrained opportunity to embrace your inner curiosity.

I started looking for opportunities at work to diversify the things that I was doing… just to break away from all the monotony that I was stuck in doing. I think what I was constantly faced with was that there were opportunities but there was never really a chance to make that big leap. For example, if I was an IT person, it would be very difficult for me to walk into the marketing department and say, “I’d like a shot to do something in the marketing world.”

quit your job - you need to ask more questions

Eventually Chang decided that enough was enough but instead of simply switching to a new company, he proceeded to get his MBA to understand the landscape and additional opportunities. He then hopped back into the corporate world.

I think that’s when I started breaking away from what I was trying to do. As I kept going on and on and doing more management stuff and getting more visibility at the executive level, seeing how businesses were running, I really had a desire to do my own thing and try my own way. I found myself not paying as much attention at work, and my mind started drifting a lot, thinking in my head that I wanted to do things my way. I think, for myself, that’s really when I decided, in my heart, that I wanted to make that move.

In March 2016, he left for good. But, as he admits, it wasn’t an immediate, knee jerk reaction.

For myself, I think that deliberation process was literally 2 years. There were times of back and forth and doubt. I think it’s easy for people to say, “Believe in yourself, and just go for it, and make that leap.” Of course, you have to get right with yourself to be able to make that leap, but I feel like, looking back in hindsight, what it came down to is… it’s all about timing. When you have something set and you’re stable and you’re steady and you have another opportunity come up, it’s not like you just jump at it and you go for it. Even if it is the right opportunity, a lot of the times, you’ve got to wait for the right time.

I’ve talked to countless people who have quit their jobs to pursue different passion and purpose areas. The one thing they have in common? An unmistakable passion for the direction they head. Do you know what I also find they have in common? This passion is oftentimes completely different from what they have been doing for years on end in the corporate world.

Whether you are quitting your job or simply pivoting to a new position, make sure it is aligned with your passion.

I have an absolute passion for it. If you look at my background, which is heavily in corporate, in computer science, in finance, in the tech world… going from that into a food world, it’s like a 180 for sure. Mind you, coming into this, I had no experience in food.

quit your job - man at beach

More so, the jump into entrepreneurship itself is startling and completely different.

It’s a totally different beast, when you’re used to 9 to 5, coming into a set office. You’ve got a parking spot. You have an office. That’s your daily routine. Going from a world like that to a 9 to 5, “Where am I going to be? Maybe I need to go talk to a buyer. Maybe I need to visit a supermarket. Maybe a customer has the issue,” your schedule basically gets turned upside down, and you go from a very, very structured world to a very unstructured world.

It takes a certain kind of person to embrace this uncertainty.

Nothing’s easy, because if it was, then everyone would be doing it. But that’s why there are certain people … and I really do believe it’s in your DNA. You have that hustle DNA. You just want to get after it. There’s certain people that just don’t care. “I don’t care if it’s midnight. I don’t care if it’s 6:00 in the morning. Because I need to get it done, I’m willing to put it all on the line and just go for it because I have that belief in it.” For me, it was like day and night, going from one to the other.

Doubt is the single largest thing that holds people back from making a decision to just go for it and make a change.

The biggest doubter, most of the time, is yourself. We are our own worst enemy because that doubt that we have in our gut, in our heart that comes out, that’s something that a lot of times we cannot overcome.

I’ve been at this for only about 8 months now, but the first day that I left corporate, I was scared. That was probably one of the scariest days of my life because, like I said, when you’re in corporate, you have a set routine. You know where you need to be. In many ways, your schedule is pretty much set. Everyone has an Outlook calendar, and you can see right there, that’s my day. That’s my week. That’s my month. But when that just gets totally wiped out, I can’t even log back into my system to look at the calendar. I’m out. From that moment on, it’s yourself. Everything is on you, and you make that move.

So, when is the right time for you to jump and make a move?

For each person, that’s different, and there’s no secret sauce for when the timing’s right. It’s going to be different for every person, because everyone’s personal situation is different. Some folks may have a family. Some folks may be just getting ready to have kids. Maybe some folks have kids that are getting ready to go to college. I think, for myself, the timing, at that time, was right. I think that’s the critical moment, that if you miss that timing, if you miss your moment, to get that back and to have another shot at that, is very rare. You have to know when the time is right for you, and then that’s the one where you make the choice and you go for it.

So, you have to be conscious of the timing of your life. You have to stay in tune with your life’s circumstances and decide for yourself when that moment is.

When you do, it’s time to commit and execute.

You have that belief that, “I can do something.” When everyone says, “No,” and when everyone backs you into the corner,your fighting spirit comes out, some people sink, some people swim, and that’s when the fighters really shine, and you say, “You know what? I’m going to prove to you, and I’m going to prove to the world, and I’m going to prove to the status quo that this is wrong, and I can make it work.”

In jumping into working with A-SHA, Chang is also dealing with huge business hurdles associated with driving a business as an entrepreneur. A-Sha noodle began as a very small internet-based company in Taiwan, but Chang has a strong passion and desire to see their noodle product sold throughout the world – specifically North America. He has drawn a line in the sand and has developed the belief that he can do it. He looked at the company, at the product, at the shape that it was and in the environment that surrounded it – – the status quo. For most, you stay in your lane, you stay in your market, and you don’t break out of that. Chang aims to change that.

Today, he has deals with Safeway markets and is working on deals with Kroger, Costco. He has broken that mold and has brought the Asian noodle into the mainstream. His work is not nearly done, by any means, but he and his team have taken that first step.

Chang’s story is only just beginning but it is reflective of a desire that is common to many of us – to be fulfilled in our work and to align it with our purpose. As he shows, sometimes it takes drastic action to get out of a rut and make it happen.

You can listen to my entire interview with Young here:

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Written by Case Kenny

Case is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PRSUIT.com; Reach him at case@prsuit.com

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